Okay, I know we are supposed to share our thoughts on the websites, but I have put a plug in for not just Shadow Puppet (for students) but Shadow Puppet Edu (for educators). It is a free app designed for the iPhone/iPad that is simple and easy to use. All you do is use the pictures on your phone to create a video with your voice narrating. I know there are other apps that do this as well but the ease of use was incredible! After you have finished the app gives you icons that you can upload to, i.e., YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter. You can even save it to your camera roll on your phone.
WARNING! THIS SITE IS ADDICTING! At first I tried to quickly click my way through the vocabulary questions; however, I kept getting them wrong. Wondering to if these words were too difficult for me, my challenge began. Because of the different formats of questioning, I really had to think about them. After I began reading more thoroughly, I was able to earn badges for my letterboard (I could see students enjoying this). When I missed a word, it was repeated in a different way, and easy-to-understand explanations were given.
The site’s description states that they match words according to the user’s ability. It also touts that it has the “fastest most useful dictionary in the world” and that its words are not meaningless but “are found in books, periodicals, and other material that cumulatively contain over 1.6 billion words.” One and a half hour later, I am writing my review…yes, it is addicting and I think students could definitely enjoy it instead of the mundane vocabulary workbook. In addition, educators can create vocabulary lists specific to what they are studying, but I really enjoyed the random words.
Downside: If the random word choices were used instead of a class list, I have yet to figure out how students would be held accountable for the words learned (at least within the site).
I originally chose to check it out because it says that you can “create dynamic flyers, presentations, banners, infographics…” The graphics that were available for use in its 23 second tutorial were stunning and the process seemed easy, but when I was creating my own, it wasn’t as seamless as it appeared. In addition, most images cost $1.00 to use. Of course the “vibrant stock photos” that were free were definitely not that spectacular. This site would be wonderful for students to create infographics of any sort—book poster, persuasive ad, or even a banner in any class, so, if you don’t mind paying one dollar for each image that you use then this is the site for you.
I signed up for Kaizena and just as it says, it was “quick and easy.” This site gives the educator the ability to respond to students GoogleDocs drafts by text comments and/or links to student work from GoogleDrive. But not just that, it has the ability for the instructor to embed voice comments about the work! This could be VERY HELPFUL in saving time instead of tying in comments. For example: when scoring writing–highlighting the referenced text and giving a voice comments, in my opinion, would be much faster than highlighting the referenced text then typing comments. The only drawback that I can see is that the instructor would have to upload each student’s document to Kaizena; however, each upload does seem is quick once you have found the document you want.